Magazine article The Spectator

The Thrill of the Chase

Magazine article The Spectator

The Thrill of the Chase

Article excerpt

I was in my garden office on Monday afternoon when I heard a loud noise behind me, as if someone had jumped over the back fence. Seconds later, a strange man walked past the window.

I emerged gingerly from my office and found myself face to face with a giant. At first glance, he looked like a basketball player: mixed race, about 6 ft 5, in his mid-twenties and built like an athlete.

'Can I help you?'

I asked.

Instead of replying, he vaulted on to the roof of my tool shed and dropped down into my neighbour's garden.

I ran up to the house, told my wife to call the police and then went out on to the street to see if I could spot him.

The road I live in has suffered a spate of burglaries in recent months - there's at least one every week - and it looked as if I 'd interrupted someone who was definitely up to no good.

I called my neighbour Bill as I was standing on the street. A couple of years ago, two teenagers tried to break into his house and he chased them off with a hammer, so I knew I could rely on him if things turned ugly.

At that point, I didn't really have a plan.

I just wanted to make sure none of my neighbours were being burgled.

Bill emerged from his front door, and moments later the intruder appeared.

'That's him, ' I said. Bill immediately ran towards him, shouting, 'Oi, what you doing?' and the man bolted across the street and hopped over a wall.

Rather than follow him, Bill jumped into his car and started rattling out instructions. He told me to go to the end of our road and wait there in case the suspect doubled back.

I n the meantime, he would drive to the spot he thought the man would emerge from. That way, we'd both be ready to give chase as soon as he reappeared.

A couple of minutes later I was standing at my post, wondering what I 'd do if the giant headed my way.

I was terrified and excited at the same time, hyped up by a cocktail of adrenaline and fear.

I was almost certain I wouldn't have the courage to do what Bill had just done - an impressive feat, given that Bill is no bigger than me.

I then began to worry about my neighbour. What if he cornered the suspect and they ended up in a fight?

And what if the man had a knife?

I f Bill got stabbed it would be my fault for involving him in this drama.

But the denouement was still some way off. …

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